April 14, 2009 Leave a comment
Sunnyside has now passed into the eye of the storm, when it comes to addressing the stormwater tax. The City Council has repealed its ill conceived tax ordinance (temporarily) while it creates a new one. In addition, taxes collected under the now repealed structure will be refunded.
This is good news (sort of) for the taxpayers. The Council is trying to calm the seas of dissent it experienced when the new tax hit the citizenry. This is why I say that Sunnyside is now in the eye of the storm. Having been through a hurricane before, I think the analogy can be made here.
The storm of protests from citizens caused a reaction from the Council, which is sure to be subdue residents when taxes are repealed, and refunds given. However, the requirement to collect the tax has not gone away. After establishing a new rate structure, taxes will start to be collected again. This is when the seas will start to get rough again.
The Clean Water Act of 1987 (passed by a Democrat Congress, which overrode President Reagan’s veto), contains mandates which are creating the need for Sunnyside to collect this tax. The Democrat Congress did not provide funding to comply with the regulations.
The City of Sunnyside has transferred personnel and equipment to the stormwater fund, and given pay raises to employees working under the stormwater designation. In addition, the projected cost of compliance with stormater regulations was around $300,000 in a previous engineering study. The City Manager is now saying it can not be done for less than $500,000.
A blue ribbon committee may be tasked with creating a tax structure to raise the controversial amount recommended by City staff.
Yakima Herald: Quelling the stormwater fee storm